Recently I have had a lot of guests ask me about organic color. It started me thinking about the beauty industry as a whole and how the term “organic” is so overused and typically used to sway the consumer to purchase one product over another. Unfortunately, people hear “organic” and instantly think “healthier” and “less damaging”. So I decided to clear up a few misconceptions.
I looked up what the FDA thinks about the label “organic” when it comes to the beauty industry and it might surprise you.
“Are cosmetics made with “organic” ingredients safer for consumers than those made with ingredients from other sources?. . . NO. An ingredients source does not determine its safety. For example, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.” (www.FDA.gov)
The definition of “organic” in science is 1.) Involving organisms or the products of their life processes. 2.) Relating to chemical compounds containing carbon, especially hydrocarbons. 3.) Using or produced with fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin.
If the Label Says. . .
- 100% Organic – The product must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients.
- Organic – The product must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). The remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the National List of non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – The product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients and the label can list up to three of the organic ingredients or “food” groups on the principal display panel.
In the beauty industry, there is no industry-agreed meaning for terms like ‘organic’ or ‘natural’. Unlike the food industry, these terms are not regulated for cosmetics which means companies can use these terms pretty freely. Some companies argue that if an ingredient comes from a natural source then it’s natural. They conveniently overlook the fact that they chemically modify it to make it work the way they want it.
Organic certified cosmetics give the peace of mind that mainstream petrochemicals are avoided. But are they???
What’s In Your Hair Color?
To a chemist anything that contains carbon is organic!!!!!! So if its man made but contains carbon it is organic even if it is harmful to you. Take MEA for instance. . . This is what is substituted for ammonia in “ammonia free” color lines. MEA is an organic chemical. A study posted in the US National Library of Medicine, “In fact, all methods show an increase in damage from MEA-based formulations, up to 85% versus ammonia in the most extreme case. Hence, if the odor of ammonia is a concern, a better approach may be to minimize the volatility of ammonia in specific chassis rather than replacing it with high levels of a potentially more damaging alkalizer such as MEA.”(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24602818)
So in other words taking out ammonia that is naturally produced in the human body and replacing it with an “organic” chemical may not be the best idea.!!!!!
What About Parabens?
Parabens are preservatives found in beauty products. “Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors (Darbre, 2004). The particular parabens were found in relative concentrations that closely parallel their use in the synthesis of cosmetic products (Rastogi, 1995).” (http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/radiation-chemicals-and-breast-cancer/parabens.html)
A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since inhaled particles can damage the lungs of sensitive persons. (https://www.sknclinics.co.uk/toxic-skin-ingredients-to-avoid)
At The Artistic Edge Salon, we carry Surface Hair products and use Proritual hair color. Surface hair products are petrochemical free!!!!! They use a fermentation process in their line of products. They are free of parabens and PVP/VA. Proritual hair color may not be “organic” but it doesn’t replace the natural ammonia with MEA. Remember the process of coloring hair is not a natural process. We were not meant to color our greying hair to a more desirable color.
Be aware of the “play on words” that companies use to try to sway you into buying their products. And remember that “organic” means simply that it contains carbon and or is animal/vegetable based!!!
Pretty simple, huh?